Oakland County domestic violence group says more survivors seeking help

HAVEN of Oakland County raises domestic violence awareness

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - Domestic violence groups around the country and in Metro Detroit want people to realize that change can start with just one thing as more survivors reach out for help.

The #1Thing campaign is for October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One thing can mean donating money to a nonprofit that helps, educates others or volunteers for a crisis line.

Staff members and volunteers at HAVEN of Oakland County said they're getting more and more calls from survivors. They stand by to take calls from survivors 24 hours a day.

"We will talk with them about HAVEN's services, how we can help them," said Jocelyn Clarke, a HAVEN crisis and support line supervisor. "But we are also here just to listen to people."

Clarke said her staff is busier than ever.

"I can tell you that since the #MeToo movement, since really the 2016 election cycle, calls have increased for us almost 100 percent," Clarke said. "So, we have had quite a few busy days of people just calling and talking about their experiences, feeling the courage to stand up and take that next step for the first time."

Clarke said they often get more calls when domestic violence or sexual assault cases are in the news.

"Especially if there has been a particularly gruesome domestic violence incident or if there is a lot of attention being focused on sexual assault through either news stories coming out or things like that," Clarke said.

Officials with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network said number of calls to its national sexual assault hotline increased 201 percent the day Christine Blasey Ford testified before the U.S. Senate.

Clarke said seeing news stories can give survivors courage.

"I think one of the thing that can be really helpful in this is having it talked about and having people become aware that this is something that is happening to people of all walks of life, that's happening to anybody at any time, so that they can fell like, 'Alright, I can go ahead and get the help that I need and not feel like I have to suffer in silence or that I'm isolated in my incident of what's happening to me,'" Clarke said.

Officials said 24 people per minute are being victimized by rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Each call for help is the first step toward ending the cycle of power and control, they said.

HAVEN's many services include shelter, counseling, therapy and advocates to help get survivors through the legal system.

The HAVEN of Oakland County crisis lines are 248-334-1274 and 877-922-1274.

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